Either Spike had pushed Dawn a little harder than he had meant to, or her normal clumsiness and abnormal eyesight had combined in order to make her fall over. Either way, she fell to the ground with a jolt, pain jarring through her as she hit the pavement. Although Dawn wasn't unduly bothered by that. What bothered her was that, at the impact, her eyesight had come flooding back in glorious colour, just in time for her to see a giant insect clacking its teeth in front of her.
Dawn screamed. She had never liked insects, and giant ones were worse.
"Dawn" Spike said, never taking his eyes of the bug for a moment "you might want to run away."
Dawn might have done, had not Spike told her to. But Buffy faced her fears every night, so Dawn should at least be able to stick around while cowering behind a master vampire who was her only defence from a giant bug. "Not a chance." she said, more bravely than she felt.
Spike didn't take the trouble to answer - truth be told, he had stopped listening to her. He was contemplating his foe.
The bug should've attacked by now, if it was aggressive. It certainly looked aggressive. But it hadn't, it was just standing there. Which didn't make any sense.
That was about as far as Spike's strategizing went. He was never one for that kind of thing. He charged forwards, arms outstretched and avoiding the flailing, spindly limbs, lamenting the fact that he didn't have a weapon as he did so.
Spike was mildly surprised that the creature didn't even try to move as he bore it over, tipping it onto its back. He was even more surprised when, rather than waving its many legs around helplessly like most insects would, the thing merely tilted its head and chewed at the ground, borrowing through it at a ridiculous pace.
Then the bug was gone.
"So" said Spike, turning back to Dawn as though nothing had happened "What's wrong with your eyes, Bit?"
Hammond had set both Willows, Sam and Jolinar to finding out what had gone wrong with the Stargate - and Daniel, when one of his sporadic changes made him another Willow. The rest of the time, Daniel was researching everything related to Ancients and their technology, to see if anything like this had happened before. Meanwhile, the Jacks and the Teal'cs were playing doubles tennis in the gym, one Jack and one Teal'c on each team. So far, they'd tied every match.
Some hours later, after virtually taking apart the Stargate and putting it back together again, they hadn't found a single thing wrong with it. As far as they were concerned, the 'gate was working perfectly. Similarly, Daniel hadn't been able to find a single thing about the Stargate doing anything other than what it was supposed to do.
So it was surprising when, in a sudden flash of light, someone appeared in the 'gate room. He was young, probably in his late twenties, with black and white hair and a staff strapped to his back. He also seemed to have a Goa'uld hand device, but it was difficult to tell because he had both hands clasped behind his head.
Oddly enough, the mere fact of his appearance wasn't the thing that surprised Hammond the most - he'd seen a great many similar things in his time at the SGC - but the fact that Sam had levelled her gun at him, and Jolinar (who as far as Hammond knew, didn't even have a gun) did so too. One Willow held a fireball in either hand, whilst the other looked like she wished she was too.
And all of them were looking at the man with both hostility and fear.
Dawn got up and dusted herself off, ridiculously pleased that she could actually see what she was doing. She guessed that it had worn off after all. "Nothing, Spike. I'm fine." she said, answering his question.
Spike looked at her sceptically, and Dawn was so glad that she could see that. "How many fingers am I holding up, then?" he asked.
"You haven't even moved your hands." Dawn answered, smiling. She felt wonderful.
Spike still looked sceptical, but less so. If Dawn could see, he couldn't really think of any reason that she would've acted the way she had. But if she didn't want to tell him, that was fine by Spike. It wasn't as though he cared anyway.
"So, do you want me to walk you to Giles, or back home? Even if you can see the bad things around here doesn't mean they won't still eat you." Spike asked.
Dawn shook her head. "Nah, Buffy would kill you if she saw you around the house." she answered, walking back the way she came, whistling as she did so.
Spike followed anyway. Even if he couldn't hit the Slayer back, it was still the high point of his day if he could antagonize her. Besides, if a demon did jump out at Dawn, he wouldn't mind beating it to a bloody pulp, in lieu of Buffy.
"Don't shoot." said the person who appeared in the 'gateroom calmly, as if having firearms, both literal and of the weapon variety, pointed at him were perfectly normal. The man had an odd accent that was difficult to place - it sounded almost equal parts Italian and what Daniel would've recognized as Coptic, but not quite either.
"Why not?" Sam hissed "You want to use us to power a machine again?"
Hammond had had enough. He didn't know who this man was, but he would be damned if he let his subordinate shoot him in cold blood. "Major! Put down your gun! The same goes for the rest of you." he ordered.
"It's Caelus, sir. The thing who tried to kill us and kill the Ancients. The one who knocked out the entire base and took over my body!" Sam growled, not lowering her weapon.
"Thing?" said Caelus mildly. "I resent that. I assure you, I am no thing."
"No?" Willow snarled, fire flaring brighter in her hands "That isn't even your face. You could look like anyone you like. You don't die when you're stabbed, you enter our minds like walking into a room. How are you not a thing?"
"I did explain all that, you know. It's just a question of genetics. Besides, I can't do that anymore." Caelus said.
"Prove it." said the other Willow. She was icily calm - she might not have magic or a weapon, but she'd go down fighting if it came to it.
Caelus rolled his eyes. "You know that it's impossible to prove that you can't do something, right?" he asked rhetorically.
"Then how do we know that you're telling the truth?" asked Jolinar. With Sam's memories and the ability to sense Caelus' Goa'uld, she was siding with the others.
"I never lied to you before." Caelus answered, still not losing his calm.
"Enough!" Hammond roared. They couldn't just shoot Caelus where he stood, but they could lock him up and make sure that he never, ever saw the light of day again. Unless, of course, he escaped like he had last time. "Lower your weapons. That is an order." he said coldly. He wasn't sure that they would obey - the Goa'uld had nearly killed them in what he had been told was an insanely painful way, after all - but he acted as though they would.
"Sergeant, call Jack, Daniel and Teal'c up here." he said to Walter. The man nodded, then rushed to obey. Then he turned to Caelus again, and didn't let on that he was glad to see that, although the weapons were still in their hands, Jolinar and Sam were no longer pointing them at Caelus, and that Willow no longer held fireballs - although he suspected that that was because she looked almost too weak to stand.
"Caelus, do you have any weapons?" Hammond asked. He was certainly going to have him searched anyway, but if he remembered the report correctly the staff on his back turned into a gigantic scythe, and he didn't particularly want anyone coming within reach of that. This way, Caelus might give them up voluntarily.
"Just a kara kesh
." Caelus answered, slowly moving his hand from behind his head to show it.
"Don't forget the staff with the six inch spike that turns into a scythe that you've got strapped to your back." Willow said.
For the first time, an emotion flickered across Caelus' face, too quickly to tell what it was. "Yes, there is that." he said blandly.
Hammond quickly told one Airman to take the weapons off of him - he knew that the science department would love to examine the scythe (even if it was currently a staff), and he was sure that Daniel would want to examine the runes on it - and the Airman did so reluctantly, remembering that this man had knocked out the entire base.
Caelus surrendered the kara kesh
easily, but he obviously didn't want to pass over the staff. Hammond was mildly surprised to see the Airman struggle under its weight - it must be a lot heavier than it looked.
As the Airman went to take the weapons to storage - they had to checked to see if they were dangerous (well, more dangerous than they were ordinarily) before allowing them to be fully examined - Hammond said to Caelus "Now, spread your legs and consent to be searched."
"That might be a problem." said Caelus, and Sam's and Jolinar's guns came up again. Both Willows looked they wished they had some kind of weapon to point as well.
Caelus didn't answer, just pointed down. For the first time, Hammond noticed that his left leg didn't straighten completely, giving him a lopsided appearance. He certainly wouldn't have the full range of motion - in fact, it would be mildly surprising if he could walk at all.
Given that what a symbiote couldn't heal, a sarcophagus certainly could - and, as an Ancient, Caelus had probably had access to even more advanced healing technology than that - Hammond wondered what could possibly have happened to cause such damage.
Then again, Caelus had just appeared for a reason they had yet to ascertain, and Hammond was standing in the same room as a Tok'ra that had been dead for years and a young witch. Anything was possible.
Author’s note: seeing as how there was widespread outrage to Caelus not having a better ending in ‘The Rings of Hell’, I've brought him back. Enjoy.
As for the accent: Italian is widely considered to be, in terms of vocabulary, the most similar to Latin, and therefore the most similar to Ancient. Similarly, Coptic is the descendant of Ancient Egyptian. Thus, someone who spoke both of these languages when they weren't dead may have had an accent that was a blend of these.